Comparison of Transmissibility of Coronavirus Between Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Patients: Reanalysis of the Ningbo COVID-19 Data.
JMIR Public Health Surveill. 2020 05 28;6(2):e19464
Authors: Yin G, Jin H
BACKGROUND: Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in December 2019, the coronavirus has spread all over the world at an unprecedented rate. The transmissibility of the coronavirus from asymptomatic patients to healthy individuals has received enormous attention. An important study using COVID-19 data from the city of Ningbo, China, was carried out to estimate and compare the transmission rates of the coronavirus by the symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. However, in the original analysis, the usual chi-square tests were unduly used for some contingency tables with small cell counts including zero, which may violate the assumptions for the chi-square test.
OBJECTIVE: We reanalyze the data from the city of Ningbo with more appropriate statistical methods to draw more reliable and sound conclusions on the transmission rates of the coronavirus by the symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.
METHODS: We excluded the cases associated with the super-spreader and adopted a more appropriate statistical method, including the permutation test and the Fisher exact test, to reanalyze the COVID-19 data from the city of Ningbo.
RESULTS: After excluding the cases related to the super-spreader, the Fisher exact test yields a P value of .84, which indicates stronger evidence of no difference in the transmission rates compared with the original analysis. The odds ratio of the coronavirus transmission rates between the symptomatic and asymptomatic patients is 1.2 with a 95% confidence interval 0.5-2.8.
CONCLUSIONS: Through a more in-depth and comprehensive statistical analysis of the Ningbo data, we concluded that there is no difference in the transmission rates of coronavirus between symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.
PMID: 32442131 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]